2023 Best & Brightest Business Major: Karyn King, University of Michigan (Ross)

Karyn King

University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

“Invested in leadership & mentorship; blessed & grateful to have amazing opportunities to pursue my passions.”

Fun fact about yourself: I was an election inspector for the Nov. 6, 2018 election- This experience taught me a lot about customer service, patience, small talk, and most importantly the importance of voting!

Hometown: Flint, MI

High School: Carman-Ainsworth High School

Major: Business Administration

Minor: Philosophy

Favorite Business Course: BA/BUSABRD 425: History, Culture, and Management of Luxury – This global immersion course taught me a lot about the luxury industry and allowed me to expand my cultural intelligence as my classmates and I were able to travel abroad to Milan, Italy. The luxury industry was one that I didn’t know much about, but this course piqued my interest and showed me how marketing and business strategy in luxury is completely different than it would be in fashion or the consumer goods industry. This experience was my first time abroad and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to learn more about Italy, the people and businesses there, and more about myself too.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

* Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee – Director of Recruitment since 2021

* BBA Ambassador & Outreach Ambassador – Since 2019

* Academic Success Center- Ross Summer Connection Mentor – Since 2020

* Ross Academic Peer Advisor (RAPA)

* Sanger Leadership Center- Leader Experience (LDRx)- Co-chair

* Paton Fellow

* Ginsberg Center for Community Service-Volunteer for Readers and Best program

* MLK Spirit Award Nominee

* National Diversity Case Competition Finalist -2021 & 2022

* L’Oreal + BBUS (Black Business Undergraduate Society) Case Competition Finalist

* Influential Storytelling: Certificate from Wolf & Heron

* James B. Angell Scholar

*University Honors – Since first year

Where have you interned during your college career?

Deloitte: Detroit – Pioneer Intern (Accounting)

Deloitte: Detroit – Discover Intern (Accounting)

EY: Chicago-People Advisory Services – Workforce Advisory Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte Consulting – Strategy Analyst

Who is your favorite business professor? My favorite business professor is David Kryscynski a.k.a DK! He was my professor for STRAT 390 or Corporate Strategy which was about how firms can create a sustainable competitive advantage in complex and dynamic environments. I really enjoyed this class because of how DK incorporated storytelling and humor into each of his lessons, especially with learning new concepts. I also appreciated how DK was able to be vulnerable with his students in sharing his personal life experiences and giving advice because it showed me the strength in having vulnerable conversations and building long-lasting relationships.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lessons I’ve gained from studying business is the importance of effectively working in teams, learning to value my time through organizational skills, and being confident in speaking about and advocating for myself.

A lot of the projects in my classes were group-based. Although I’ve had good and bad experiences, each of them taught me something about others, myself, and the different ways to adapt to various working styles. During my first year, I was a lot more introverted than I am now. It was hard for me to talk about myself, so I felt as though I struggled a lot in interviews and networking. To improve, I had to change my perspective on talking about myself as a negative to being proud of who I was and the things I’ve accomplished so that I could proudly advocate for myself. So overall, I’ve learned to have confidence in myself because that confidence is what helped me in group settings, schedule organization, on-campus jobs, and planning my future.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? The advice I would give to students looking to major in a business-related field is to try to understand how the various areas in business work together. This is important because business problems are multifaceted. Having an understanding in finance, strategy, marketing, technology and operations can allow you to view issues from different perspectives. I also think this is why it’s important for students to explore and find their own path within business instead of pursuing a career that might not be for them; with exploration comes innovation and finding answers you never would have thought of if you hadn’t explored.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I was most surprised about the extent to which business can be the foundation in solving many systemic problems that society faces today. I believe this is due to the fact that how we function in our everyday lives is impacted by the different ways business influences us. Knowing this, I was also surprised about all of the ways to pursue business which means that whatever interest you have, you can find a way to pair it with business.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? Overall, I’m really grateful for the experiences and relationships I’ve been able to make in my time at business school. However, if I could do one thing differently, I would have more confidence in myself earlier in my academic career. I came into Ross as the only student from my high school and not knowing anything about how vast business is, so I felt really self-conscious about my lack of knowledge. I realized later on that not only did my voice deserve to be heard, but that it was okay to lack knowledge. It was actually a huge contradiction. That’s because while I felt that I needed to have all this knowledge to “catch up” to my peers, the whole purpose of me being in business school was to learn and explore my interests. So, I would have preferred to have realized that sooner because it would have saved me a lot of stress and doubt about myself!

What business leader do you admire most? The business leader I admire the most is Rhonda Todd. She is currently the Director of Inclusive Academic Advising at Cornell University and was previously the Director of the Academic Success Center at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. I first met Rhonda the summer before my first year when I participated in the Academic Success Center’s Ross Summer Connections program, where students from under-resourced communities and underrepresented backgrounds are able to come to campus and acclimate to college life. Rhonda was one of the first people I met at the University and she is someone that inspired and encouraged me when I was overwhelmed to start my first year at Michigan. Throughout that summer and my first year, she became someone whose presence uplifted others and my peers and I knew that Rhonda was someone we could go to for help and advice. It was very reassuring to me to have someone who truly cares for others in my corner and I will continue to admire her drive to “lean in” and ability to craft meaningful connections.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? An achievement that I am most proud of is the work I’ve done through my position as the Director of Recruitment in the BBA DEI Committee. For the past two years, I’ve been able to lead, co-host, and experience so many transformative and impactful events and initiatives. They include helping to establish Ross’s First-Gen Network; working with middle school students at the Boys and Girls Club to expand their knowledge on financial literacy; working with Global Initiatives to improve the orientation and club recruitment process for exchange students; co-hosting Ross’s first multicultural celebration; and having inclusive conversations with my peers. These experiences have allowed me to get closer to my peers, gain new perspectives, and further develop my leadership and organizational and event planning skills. Being a part of the DEI Committee has made an impact on who I am today and it is my hope that these programs and initiatives have helped improve my community for the better.

Which classmate do you most admire? A classmate I admire is Lindsey Azu, who is also a graduating senior this year. I first met Lindsey at orientation in July, which was the summer before our first year. Little did I know then, but she was someone who would become one of my best friends for the rest of my college career. Not only did we meet at orientation, but we ended up participating in the same summer program, Ross Summer Connection, where we were randomly selected to be roommates. This is what ultimately initiated four years of unbreakable friendship. Lindsey is someone who could always make me laugh and has the best music recommendations! She is a reliable friend who will always go the extra mile “just because” and someone who can be vulnerable and remain level headed through tough situations. I admire her strength, her adaptability, and her willingness to never give up. Lindsey was the first person to accept me as I am and I’ll always be grateful to her and my entire friend group for making these four years unforgettable!

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I am grateful for all of the amazing relationships that I’ve been able to develop in my four years in business school and each of them have contributed to who I am today. Someone who has played a large role in helping me develop my values is my mom, who has always encouraged me with her strength and empathy toward others. Currently she works with special needs children at my local Middle School. I’ve been able to see first-hand how much care she puts into each interaction she has with her students while being aware of the impact she is making on them. With this empathy, my mom is able to connect with others very easily, which means she can talk to quite literally anyone, which is something I respect a lot.

My mom also values learning, which was clear to me at a young age when she began to teach my siblings and I before we went to preschool. I remember her printing out the alphabet and taping them to the walls and we’d go around the room and say our ABC’s together. She would also write our names in pencil and we would have to trace it. We even had days when we’d have to spell everything we wanted, so if we wanted juice she would ask us to spell it (and if we couldn’t she would help us). All of these things became a natural part of our day and I’m really grateful for the effort she put in to build our confidence to embrace our education. So, with these values of empathy, connections, and learning, I’ve been able to be, as my mom would say, “extremely blessed” in my journey so far. I know that I am extremely blessed to have her as a mom.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Create my own financial literacy program for under-resourced communities to give people the confidence to be successful regarding their personal finances and making smart choices. Overall, I want to be a servant leader who gives back to people who need it the most.
  2. Continuous learning in everything I do – I want to continue developing myself in my career and personal life which includes going to graduate school, learning from every project I’m on, and traveling to see and experience new things that will expand my perspective.

What are your hobbies? 1000+Jigsaw puzzles, watching Marvel Movies and TV series, reading, playing card games, trying new activities and new foods, and skiing.

What made Karyn such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“I have had the pleasure of knowing Karyn King since 2019 when she participated in our Ross Summer Connections (RSC) program. Karyn was a standout student during the program. She was always looking to make deeper connections with her peers and learn more about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Ross and how she could make a difference. In the past three years, Karyn has not only served as a program mentor for RSC but she also served on the Ross BBA DEI Committee, worked as a BBA ambassador for our admissions team, and worked with Black Gen Capital, a program that has multiple chapters across other high-ranking universities. Karyn’s dedication to DEI work at Ross has had a huge impact on the school and her peers. Not only has Karyn coordinated multiple events through her work with the DEI Committee and First Gen network she has also helped high school students make the decision to come to Ross by sharing her authentic experience as a student of color at a predominantly White institution. Karyn is a phenomenal mentor to younger students and exemplifies our school’s commitment to DEI and access.”

Lauren Clarkson
Director of Academic Success


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